The pill is authorized for emergency use only and will protect against severe disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use only authorization to the world’s first oral antiviral treatment pill for COVID-19. Pfizer developed Paxlovid and is the first treatment approved for use in the early diagnosis setting. The clinical trials showed that the drug effectively reduced hospitalization and death rate by 89%.
It is authorized for adults and kids 12 years and older with mild to moderate infection and at risk for progression to severe COVID-19. It is to be prescribed as soon as possible after diagnosis, within the first five days of symptoms onset and can be taken orally at home. The side effects are also reportedly mild. These characteristics are essential as they will help reduce the pressure facing healthcare and hospital systems.
The medicine will be available in limited quantities in 2021, with 180,000 treatment courses available worldwide, with roughly 60,000 to 70,000 allocated to the U.S. Pfizer also projected around 120 million treatment courses will be made available by the end of 2022.
PAXLOVID™ (Nirmatrelvir tablets and Ritonavir tablets)
A part of the medication Nirmatrelvir targets certain protease enzymes required by the coronavirus to replicate. The other part, Ritonavir, slows down the breakdown of Nirmatrelvir to prolong its activity in the body for more extended periods in high concentrations to help combat the virus.
Contrary to most vaccines targeting spike protein required by viruses to enter the body, PAXLOVID targets viral replication. Both vaccine and medication will complement each other for reducing the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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